Book: Moa by Quinn Berentson

Moa: The life and death of NZ's legendary Bird
Quinn Berentson's award winning book is  2013.
"The moa did not exist in isolation -  it evolved as a part of a complex ecosystem and over millions of years it shaped and was shaped by the plants and animals around it," writes Berentson.  "and as it turns out, if we look closely at the precious fragments of the moa's lost world which are all that we are left with today, there are still visible traces of moa in the New Zealand wilderness that have outlived themselves, like ripples from a sunken stone."

The moa were the most unusual and unique family of birds that ever lived, a clan of feathered monsters that developed in isolation for many, many millions of years. They became extinct reasonably quickly after the arrival of the Maori, and were a distant memory by the time European explorers arrived. So the discovery and identification of their bones in the 1840s was a worldwide sensation, claimed by many to be the zoological find of the century.

This book begins by recounting the story of discovery, which was characterised by an unbelievable amount of controversy and intrigue. Since then there has been an unbroken chain of new discoveries, culminating with intriguing revelations in recent years about the moa’s biology, that have come to light through DNA testing and radio-dating.

This is a fascinating and important book that richly recounts the life and death of our strangest bird. Packed with a fantastic range of illustrations, Moa fills an important gap in our natural history literature, a popular but serious book on this national icon.

Other excellent reads   At War with Nature  / The Third Wave and Water; Quality and Ownership by Bill Benfield
Also The Quiet Forest by Fiona M F McQueen


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